The number of state-level bills being presented to outlaw abortion is increasing nationwide, with more lawmakers submitting legislation to ignore and defy Roe. Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Indiana are all currently considering legislation that would protect the unborn as persons and criminalize the act of abortion as murder.
As previously reported, in Idaho, Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, and Rep. John Green, R-Post Falls, have introduced the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act, which would remove an exemption for abortion from the state’s homicide laws.
“Idaho code defines a fetus as a human and says killing a human is murder. Abortion is in contradiction to the inalienable rights recognized in the Idaho Constitution, and the State of Idaho has the authority to nullify federal laws that would allow abortions,” the bill reads in part.
A number of Idaho pastors have also joined together to release a “Mercy Statement” in support of Scott and Green’s legislation.
“We hereby appeal to our elected lawmakers to establish laws that will ensure this right [to life] be properly applied to every child in the womb. We even go as far as to stand ready to make available safe homes to every unwanted child within the land,” it reads. “We give our hearty agreement with the proposed language of the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act. We are asking you to do what is right in the eyes of God and pass this bill.”
In Texas, Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, has again presented the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, which was first filed in 2017 in response to language in the Texas Republican Party platform that calls for “legislation stopping the murder of unborn children; and to ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life.”
“A living human child, from the moment of fertilization upon the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum, is entitled to the same rights, powers, and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child,” the bill reads in part.
Similarly, in Oklahoma, Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, has re-filed Senate Bill 13, which outlines that the definition of a human being includes the unborn, and “from the moment of fertilization.”
Therefore, under existing state homicide statutes, which define the crime as “the killing of one human being by another,” the unborn would be equally protected, and specifically regarding “acts which cause the death of an unborn child committed during an abortion.”
“Any federal statute, regulation, executive order or court decision which purports to supersede, stay or overrule this [bill] is in violation of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma and the Constitution of the United States of America and is therefore void,” the bill also declares.
The legislation was first presented in 2016, but was stalled by Republican state leadership.
In South Carolina, State Sen. Richard Cash, R-Anderson, and state Rep. Josiah Magnuson, R-Spartanburg, have sponsored companion bills, House Bill 3289 and Senate Bill 485, also known as the “Personhood Act,” which “acknowledges that personhood is God-given, as all men are created in the image of God” and “[t]he right to life for each born and preborn human being vests at fertilization.”
It also outlines that if a woman’s life is at risk, “the physician shall make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the preborn human being in a manner consistent with accepted medical standards.”
Another personhood bill, House Bill 3920, is identical to legislation presented in 2017 by Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant.
Last month, Indiana Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen, re-filed the “Protection at Conception” bill, House Bill 1430, which “redefines ‘human being’ for the purposes of the criminal code to conform to the finding that human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.”
It also nixes language in state statutes pertaining to the allowance and the regulation of abortion in Indiana.
When Nisly filed the legislation last year, he plainly declared that the purpose of the bill is “to bring the Roe v. Wade era to its logical conclusion” and “to deregulate abortion right out of existence in Indiana.”
“I am pleased how mainstream this approach has become across the country over the last few years,” Nisly said in a statement. “There are many other states that are considering protection of life legislation, and the federal government also had a bill last year that acquired 117 sponsors, including 3 congressmen from Indiana.”
Similar bills were filed in Colorado and Missouri in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but were unsuccessful.
As previously reported, even in early America, the belief that abortion is murder was not uncommon.
Philadelphia legal writer, educator and Christian apologist Francis Wharton, who wrote several books on American law, penned an entire chapter on abortion in his book “American Criminal Law,” published in 1855.
Wharton called abortionists “persons who are ready to degrade their humanity to this occupation” and stated in regard to abortion in general, “Such conduct cannot be too strongly condemned, and is the more deserving of receiving the punishment awarded for the criminal offense in question.”
In 1850, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court became the first high court in the nation to declare that abortion must be prohibited at any stage of gestation for any reason. While other state courts allowed preborn babies to be aborted up to four months of gestation by reason of a “quickening” theory, which stated that a person was not protected until the mother felt them kicking in the womb, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would accept no such argument.
In Mills v. Commonwealth, the court declared that the theory “is not … the law in Pennsylvania, and ought never to have been the law anywhere.” The ruling became a strong precedent that other state courts began to review and follow.
By the 1900’s, due to the influence of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, nearly every state in the nation prohibited abortion for any reason, with the exception of Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina.